Ongoing Employment of Unvaccinated Employees

January 11th, 2022

What is fair and reasonable in the circumstances?

As the science endorses yet another vaccination considering new COVID-19 variants, employers look to self-mandating vaccination as a condition of employment. 

However, whilst this is easy to mandate for new employees it isn’t that easy for existing employees. 

Non-vaccinated employees are still entitled to fair process before any consideration of termination of their employment

Consultation is the key. It must be done in good faith meaning a fair risk assessment with employee input is required. Guidelines for that assessment can be found on the WorkSafe website

If vaccination is required for the role/work, then a timeframe for that to occur must be identified.

Provide a process for feedback which includes an opportunity for meaningful assessment of alternative ways the work can be done without vaccination.

Offer support and resources for vaccination.

Be clear as to the consequences (i.e. loss of employment) if the vaccination deadline is not meet.

Explore alternative options with the employee such as redeployment, flexible work arrangements or change in the role to accommodate continued employment. For example, making the role contactless.

It is fair also to consider whether the nature of the work will create additional risks to an unvaccinated person. 

Whatever the outcome the overarching requirements remains to engage constructively to preserve the employment, to act as a fair and reasonable employer in the circumstances and to ensure that termination is a truly last resort.

Please contact Buckett Law for advice and assistance on how this effects you. 

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